WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Superman: Son of Kal-El 2021 Annual #1, on sale now from DC Comics.
Jonathan Kent has had his hands full since becoming the new Superman. He's angered Henry Bendix, the president of the island nation of Gamorra, and faced a number of brutal attacks from the mysterious ruler, some far too close to home. However, if one evil genius wasn't enough to contend with, he just met his father's most bitter nemesis, Lex Luthor. Though it seems to Jon that these two threats are worlds apart, they're about to join forces in the worst way.
After Luthor was attacked, the new Superman came to his rescue in Superman: Son of Kal-El 2021 Annual #1 (by Tom Taylor, Steve Pugh, Clayton Henry, Romulo Fajardo Jr., Steve Buccellato, and Dave Sharpe). Once the heroics were done, the villain challenged the son of his archenemy to a game of chess; one the original Superman never finished. Lex was shocked by the fact he lost to his young opponent and, as a consequence, agreed to consider saving the world at Jon's request. However, what these two individuals think "saving the world" really means are wildly different. So much so that it may spell doom for the Son of Kal-El, and the entire DC Universe.
Once his business with the new Superman had concluded, Lex asked his assistant, Mercy Graves, to call Bendix. It seems that the president of Gamorra had already contacted Luthor once before, about something known only as "the Rising." This mysterious plan likely has something to do with Bendix's Metahuman experiments on Gamorra.
It's no secret that this is what Bendix is up to in the pages of Superman: Son of Kal-El. Jon has come face to face with many of Henry Bendix's metahuman creations, either by saving them, being attacked by them, or both. He's clearly creating an army of sorts out of the population of Gamorra. Jon's new love interest, Jay Nakamura, confirmed this, with experiments conducted on him by Bendix's regime granting him his own metahuman abilities.
The original interpretation of the character, from the WildStorm continuity, had a history of creating metahumans as well. He once implanted his own mind in a clone body, a body that had the powers of multiple individuals from across the Authority and StormWatch teams. In the DC Universe, he was even one of the minds behind Midnighter's creation.
So why does Henry Bendix want Lex Luthor? It's most likely not just for the Superman villain's genius mind, but his proven track record in creating his own metahumans. He's tried to make clones of Superman on more than one occasion, which has resulted in versions of Bizarro and Conner Kent's Superboy. Also, when Superman disappeared for a year after the Infinite Crisis, he created the "Everyman" project. Through this, he gave many ordinary humans superpowers, and just as easily took them away.
What these two villains could do together could be potentially devastating. Superman alone couldn't fight an army of metahumans, especially not if some of their powers rival his own. Every hero in the DC Universe will have to get involved in this upcoming conflict. However, what exactly "the Rising" is remains unknown. It could be Bendix's plan to expand his superpowered rule beyond Gamorra's borders or even make metahumans the dominant species on Earth. Whatever it is, in some twisted way, Lex Luthor believes it can save the world.
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